Betws-y-Coed, a charming village in the UK, has always been a magnet for tourists. Recently, it was even crowned the best holiday destination in the country. However, behind the scenes, the village faces a different challenge when it comes to attracting workers to support its bustling tourism industry.
Jacha Potgieter, owner of the Alpine Coffee Shop and Hangin’ Pizzeria, along with his wife Gwynneth, is feeling the strain of the labor shortage. They currently have 25 vacant positions at their popular establishments, and the stress of finding suitable employees has left them and their existing staff feeling exhausted.
While Jacha has attributed the difficulties to the combined impacts of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic, he also acknowledges that there seems to be a lack of interest in these job opportunities. The presence of numerous Airbnb accommodations and holiday lets in the village further limits the local population and the potential workforce.
Despite offering competitive wages, starting above the minimum wage and increasing after a trial period, the Potgieters are struggling to receive applications from local residents. In the past, they would receive around 50 applications for a single job advert, but now they consider themselves lucky if they receive five, with only one candidate showing up for an interview.
Jacha empathizes with his current staff, acknowledging that they are stretched thin. The situation has been exacerbated by negative online reviews from customers, which takes a toll on the morale of an already fatigued team. Previously, the Potgieters relied on hardworking individuals from countries like Poland and the Czech Republic, but changes arising from Brexit have made recruitment more challenging.
For Jacha, who is also an artist and conservationist, his businesses have become all-consuming, leaving little time for his other passions. He has even had to invest in staff accommodation in a neighboring town, but that alone has not resolved the staffing issue.
While the Alpine Coffee Shop and Hangin’ Pizzeria continue to be vital components of Betws-y-Coed’s charm, there is a sense of urgency for government intervention to resolve this ongoing struggle. The Potgieters are not alone in their predicament, as numerous other businesses in the village are facing similar difficulties in securing sufficient workers to meet the growing demand.
1. Why is Betws-y-Coed struggling to attract workers?
Betws-y-Coed, despite being a popular holiday destination, is finding it challenging to attract workers due to a combination of factors. The impacts of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic have played a significant role in exacerbating pre-existing issues. There is also a local population reduction caused by the prevalence of Airbnb accommodations and holiday lets, further limiting the available workforce.
2. What steps have been taken to address the labor shortage?
The owner of Alpine Coffee Shop and Hangin’ Pizzeria, Jacha Potgieter, has offered competitive wages, starting above the minimum wage and increasing after a trial period. He has even invested in staff accommodation in a neighboring town. However, despite these efforts, the number of applications from local residents has significantly decreased.
3. How has Brexit impacted recruitment?
Prior to Brexit, businesses in Betws-y-Coed relied on staff from countries like Poland and the Czech Republic. However, changes arising from Brexit have made it more challenging to recruit individuals from these regions, contributing to the current labor shortage.
– North Wales Live.